Protein Banana Bread

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So I know its been a while since I’ve posted a recipe or blog post.  We’ve been crazy here at the Burke house, but all in good ways.  We’ve been traveling, busy with festivals, and new developments on the business side. I’ve met some really amazing people this summer, and grown closer to new friends here in Greenwich.

We are so blessed to be able to do so many neat things, and this summer has been one for a lot of new experiences. We’ve traveled a bit, met new people, and really taken advantage of the beauty in our area. My friend Heather, from Gacchi Bakery, and I worked the Greenwich Food and Wine Festival together and have done a lot of special events all summer.

I have been cooking a lot for clients and for us, but have been very lax about taking photos. I am going to start making an effort again to photograph as much as I can the things I’ve been making.  Starting with this great protein banana bread!

We don’t love bananas, so more often than not if I buy them, I don’t get through them before they get really soft. Banana bread is one of the few options you have at this point.  Sometimes I freeze them peeled also to add into smoothies, but other times when you want something sweet, banana bread is a great healthy option.

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What you need:

 

  • 2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter a 4×8-inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and protein.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before serving.

 

 

Zucchini Carrot and Pineapple Muffins

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Another awesome way to hide veggies into things is by adding them into your baked goods.  Breakfast can be a particularly difficult meal to get kids to eat, and more often than not things like muffins and pancakes are the easiest  go to option. The only issue is that traditional muffins and sweet breakfasts are just carb heavy and lack a lot of nutrients.

Carrots and zucchini have been used in making cakes and breads for a long time because of their mild flavors.  The added benefit though is that both vegetables have so much nutritional value. Between carrots and zucchini you are giving your kids a great source for vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6, protein, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

It is kind of a no brainer honestly, and hidden into a muffin, it is extremely unlikely that any kid will turn their nose up at the thought of veggies. These muffins are really easy, and can be made ahead for the week.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded pineapple (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (excess water removed)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond flour (coconut flour, or regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Grease your muffin tins with butter or natural cooking spray.

Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

If you don’t love pineapple, sub in shredded apple or any other fruit you like. The best part about it is that you can do all of your shredding and mixing in a food processor to really save on work.

Jordan’s family loved these, so again another kid test and kid approved recipe!

Green Breakfast Smoothie

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James and I just got back from our England vacation, and really enjoyed seeing family, friends, and celebrating the wedding of two of our favorite people! The only downside of going away, aside from the jet lag, is that our usual healthy eating tends to go out the window. We went out to eat at least once a day, if not twice, and had wine or cocktails with almost every meal. Not to mention, that for the recovery brunch after the wedding, we partook in eating 25 Dominos pizzas – talk about guilty eating!

Now that we are back, both James and I have returned to having lighter breakfasts of protein bars or smoothies or the occasional egg. For lunch, I’ve returned to eating at least two lighter meals – think protein cereal, avocado toast, grilled chicken salads, and lettuce wraps. The only thing we’ve been a little slower to get back to is home cooked dinners.  As you might expect after being away for 10 days, we’ve had a lot to catch up on, and when the jet lag hits around 5/6pm paired with the busy days, I have not had much motivation to cook. This weekend and next week we will get back on our normal routine fully!

Anyway, one of my favorite breakfasts is a protein smoothie.  We have a great protein powder that is really low in sugar and lactose free! Smoothies are also a way to squeeze in extra fruit and veg into a meal that would otherwise lack these things. Plus when you are on the go, you can put these smoothies in your old salsa jars and throw them in the car!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop of protein (25g or so)
  • 8-10oz of milk of your choice (I love Cashew-Milk)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 sprigs of kale removed from the stem
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Throw all of your ingredients into a good blender and mix until smooth.

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Feel free to add ice if you want more of a milk-shake type feel, but this is not required.

You could also add in a handful of almonds, cocoa nibs, dried fruit, or oats to bulk it up a bit.

 

Spring Green Beans Almandine

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What a week it has been so far, and it is almost over.  I thought for a while about what to post after yesterday’s exciting announcement, but everything felt like it would fall short! So I figured I would return to normal as best as possible and feature something fresh and seasonal.

As many of you know passover was last week as well as Easter, and for many these holidays really begin the Spring season. I went down to Texas to spend the holiday with my family, but I know in CT it was over 80F and sunny! What a way to kick off Spring parties and backyard barbecues!

I love this time of year and all of the delicious veggies that are becoming available at local markets. I have always been a big fan of green beans, and will eat them in almost any form.  I really like them still crispy, my pet peeve of cooked veggies is how so many people over cook them and lose that delicious bite!

This recipe is super easy, and only takes about 15-20min max and it is perfect for your next Spring get together!

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Why you need:

  • 2 bags of green beans
  • 3/4 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

You don’t have to use the bags of green beans, but they make your life super easy! You just cut holes in them and microwave them for 3 minutes for lightly steamed perfection.

In a cast iron pan heat up half of your butter and fry up your almonds.  You want them to brown and get nice and toasted.

Once they start turning brown, add in your garlic clove and cook a further 2 minutes.

Throw in your green beans, lemon juice, and the remaining half of the butter and toss.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is such a great picnic option or perfect to serve for your next dinner party. These green beans are light and crunchy and could go back to almost anything!

Citrus Spring Salad with Grilled Scallops

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Yesterday, my girlfriend over at The Zhush posted a recipe of mine. Sue is a seriously talented interiors expert, and has an incredible eye for design. Her kitchen is pretty spot on to my dream kitchen, so I luckily get to live vicariously through her!

Anyway, a few weeks back she asked me to share a Spring recipe for her and her readers, so I worked to put together a salad that featured seasonal fresh ingredients.  We are nearing the end of Citrus season, but right now, grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons are so fresh and delicious. This is the perfect time to make this salad, and it could be a great addition to any Easter spread this weekend.

I made it with fresh grilled scallops, but you could easily substitute, canned tuna, chicken breast, or grilled shrimp instead.

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What you need: (feeds 4)

  • 20 Scallops
  • large package of mixed greens
  • 2 plum or heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large grapefruit, skinned and chopped
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
Chop and slice all of your veggies and fruit.
In a small bowl mix together your lime juice, garlic, and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Toss your veggies in a large bowl with the quinoa.
Season your scallops with salt and pepper.
Grill your scallops for about 1-2min per side.  These cook very quickly, so keep a watchful eye!
Toss your dressing with the salad and serve onto four plates.
Top salads with 5 scallops each and add on some fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Enjoy!

Very Berry Cobbler

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As I mentioned yesterday, we had such a fun backyard bbq with friends on Sunday.  Spring has seemingly finally arrived, and berry season is in full effect. Right now you can get the most delicious strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, which are perfect for eating and cooking with!

This coming weekend we are heading to Texas for Easter, so our bbq last weekend, was our pre-Easter “framily” barbecue. For those of you that follow me on instagram or Facebook, I posted a photo a couple weeks back of little individual berry cobblers that I made for a client dinner party.  All 10 guests raved about how delicious it was, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.

What is so great about this, is that the filling is just fruit.  No added sugar at all, and as they cook, they bubble up and create their own syrup. The topping is really simple as well, and uses all natural animal fats (butter), and only some brown sugar. This is a pretty healthy dessert, and one you can feel good about feeding your family.

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What you need:

 

  • 3 cups assorted berries
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I only had half white bread flour and it was still delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9”x 6” rectangular or 8” round baking dish.

If using strawberries, quarter them so all fruit pieces are mostly uniform in size.

Place the berries in the prepared pan. Drizzle with the lemon juice.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until well-blended. Mix in the dry ingredients until mixture resembles crumbs. Drop the dough evenly on top of berries.

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Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and fruit is bubbly.

If your dish is really full, make sure to put a sheet pan underneath it, as often the fruit bubbles up over the side.

Serve it straight from the oven with a little vanilla ice cream.  Who doesn’t love a little cobbler a la mode?

 

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

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This week has been a doozy! I had to scale my salsa recipes to get a step process from the Cornell Food Science Center, meaning I had to make at least a gallon of each formula! My friends and husband are in heaven at the moment because they are reaping the benefits of my over-production.

I have been cooking dinner all week, but because I have been so busy during the day, I haven’t been able to photograph the meals and share them with you. If you follow my instagram stories, I told you all a while back that to blog about food you have to cook in the middle of the day to get good lighting.  Sure you can artificially create lighting with special tools, but I don’t have these tools, and since I do all of my own photography, it is a lot cheaper to use natural light.

Anyway, thanks to days becoming longer as the spring and summer seasons approach, I did manage to snap a couple of photos of things I have made this week. On Tuesday evening, I met up with a fabulous group of girls who are all fellow entrepreneurs in the Fairfield County area.  Many of these inspiring women own their own brands or shops, and others have highly successful lifestyle and travel blogs.  I am humbled by their achievements, but equally so inspired by their success.

We meet once a month usually and this month our hostess asked me to bring an appetizer. I wanted to make something tasty, but filling without being heavy. Sort of a unicorn of appetizers you might think, but this flatbread really hit the nail on the head.

What you need:

  • Store-bought flatbread or pizza crusts
  • Large Mozzarella Ball
  • Figs, quartered
  • Prosciutto, separated and chopped roughly
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Glaze
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 425F.

The beauty of using a pre-made flatbread is that it is a major time saver.  Of course you can do your own dough if you have the time, but as I mentioned, its been a crazy week!

Tear apart your mozzarella ball and spread it around the crust or flatbread.

Bake your flatbread on a pizza stone or directly on the rack for about 10-13min until cheese is melted and flatbread is crispy.

Add on your prosciutto and figs and drizzle over the balsamic glaze and olive oil.

Season lightly with sea salt and pepper and enjoy!

Orzo Spinach Pasta

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We have had an eventful couple of weeks here at Casa Burke. I turned 30, which was great, we threw a huge party for said 30th, my parents flew up and then got stuck here – thanks winter storm Stella, and then I got lasik eye surgery! Luckily, last week and this week are Spring Break for most Greenwich schools, so I didn’t have too much client work to juggle with the family visit and then eye surgery.

I am pleased to say I now have 20/20 vision, which is such an awesome 30th birthday gift! It is life changing to not have to wear contacts or glasses anymore. I got glasses around the age of 8, and contacts around the age of 11 because I was that super cool kid who was lucky enough to get braces at the same time…. I will give you a moment to imagine how popular/cool I wasn’t…

Anyway, I have worked a couple of parties for clients lately and planned the food for my own party, but sadly I was neglecting the blog.  Tsk Tsk… I know! But today is a new day, and I can see clearly the road ahead! I have an exciting salsa project in the pipeline and a few other cool developments, so over all The Gourmet Cocina is cooking! (pun definitely intended… still imagining how cool I am not?)

Today’s recipe is part of a two part series.  I will post the pork tenderloin that we served with this pasta tomorrow.  The pasta is definitely a stand alone, and really yummy and healthy!

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What you need:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2-3 cups orzo pasta
  • 1 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (a high quality one)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot of salted water cook your orzo according to the packaging instructions.  Mine said for 10-12min.

Meanwhile, using about a tablespoon of olive oil, sauté your onion in a good, heat conducting pan on medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add in your garlic and cook for about a minute until fragrant.

Pour in the sherry wine vinegar and reduce by half.

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Once your pasta is done and your vinegar has reduced, drain your pasta and mix together the reduction and the pasta in a large bowl.

Add in your fresh spinach, and the heat of the pasta and sauce will cause it to wilt slightly.

Add in the balance of the olive oil, the fresh lemon juice, and sea salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is so fresh and delicious, and would be a great accompaniment to a lot of different things.  Feel free to add parmesan or pecorino or even goats cheese if you want, but I kept this dairy free.

 

 

 

 

Red Berry Smoothie

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Happy International Women’s Day friends! I can’t believe I haven’t really posted in almost two weeks, but the last two weeks have been quite an adventure! We got back from our amazing trip to Hawaii, and really hit the ground running. Business for me in Greenwich has really picked up and I have been working small dinner parties, and even a very large cocktail party!

The planning alone takes a lot of time, but the preparation and organization needed to pull off a spectacular evening really takes dedication. Thankfully the events went off without a hitch, but each required their own brand of in the moment thinking on my feet.

The other very exciting adventure is that I am in the process of getting all of my necessary certifications to sell my salsas! I am still working on a good name for them, but they will fall under The Gourmet Cocina umbrella. I have been making salsa for almost a decade now and I have really perfected it. Every time I go home my family has me make it, and at least once a month, my husband begs me to make it too!  Even my spice averse English in-laws love it, and that is truly a compliment!

Anyway, to actually get to a phase where you are producing it, you have to get over a few hurdles, and I am working on those now.  I see some light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a process!

But back to being a badass girl boss right! It’s international women’s day and I have the great privilege of being friends with some of the most intelligent, strong, impressive women! I have a whole group of friends in TX, NYC, and Brooklyn who each dominate in their own industries, and another group of friends here in CT who all own or run their own companies, blogs, and brands. It is so inspiring to have such successful and fabulous women around me, and they all push me to take The Gourmet Cocina to the next level.

Aside from tomato soup, tomato sauce, and salsas, there aren’t really that many red foods.  I could have done something with beets maybe, but though tasty, there is nothing exciting about beets! So today I made myself a red berry smoothie as a little healthy treat in honor of all my fellow badass females out there. This one isn’t too complicated, but it was delish!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 6 oz coconut water
  • 4 oz regular water

Throw it all into a blender and enjoy!

I did’t have any spinach or greens to throw in today, but that would have been a nice added level of nutrition.

This is a breakfast of champions and will help you awesome ladies out there have the energy you need to start your day off right!

Polenta Squares with Mushroom Ragu

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As promised here is the second bite we did for the Fairfield County Mom’s Blog event.  Sorry for the delay, this week has been a doozy! It has been super busy week work wise, but also we found out that my poor puppy broke her toe, so she is in a cast and limited to very short and very few walks a day! This is a dog that runs for an hour a day and goes to camp two times a week… She isn’t yet misbehaving, but I am sure like a young child, unless I keep her occupied, she might start to rebel.

I have some exciting updates for the company that I will share soon, but over all things are really coming together with The Gourmet Cocina, and it’s really been a fun ride! This week has been all about learning and exciting new ventures, and I really can’t wait for what the future has in store.

But back to this little snack!  These polenta bites are gluten free, vegetarian, and actually pretty darn healthy! I used butter in them, but for the vegans out there, you could certainly use another substitute instead. I also had some extra mushroom ragu, and cooked that in with some fresh spinach for a really awesome side dish! It could be really good on chicken too!

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What you need:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp corn starch

Set the water, 1 tbsp of butter and 1/2 tsp of salt to a boil, and add in your polenta.

Stir frequently until thickened, about 5 min, and then remove from the heat.

Poor the polenta into a 9 x 9 baking pan so that it is about 1/3 inch thick and let cook for at least 15min.

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In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan, and cook your mushrooms and onions for about 8-10min until soft and the juices have mostly dried up.  Make sure to add in about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper during this process.

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Add the garlic next and cook for about 2 min.

Once the juices are mostly evaporated, decrease the temperature to medium-low and add in your white wine. Cook down for about 5min with a lid on and the liquid reduces by about half.

Stir in the rest of the butter and the corn starch until thickened and an even mixture. If you find you need a bit more corn starch for a thicker consistency, add it in small amounts at a time until you reach your desired thickness.

Season the ragu with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut your polenta into 1″ squares and top with the ragu.

Enjoy with a glass of the same wine you used to cook with 😉

Have a great weekend everyone, can’t wait to share some fun recipes next week!