Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake

This cake is a tasty balance of sweet streusel and sour fruit.  It makes quite a large treat and so is typically only served around here when company is expected.  My 4-year-old was severely disappointed (read: threw a not-so-charming tantrum) upon discovering that there were no chocolate chips involved, but I think this recipe is perfect nevertheless.

Streusel

¾ c. lightly packed brown sugar

            ½ c. unbleached flour

            1 tsp. cinnamon

            ¼ c. butter

Cake

½ c. soft butter

            1 c. granulated sugar

            2 eggs

            1 tsp. vanilla

            2 c. flour

            1 tsp. baking powder

            1 tsp. baking soda

            ½ tsp. salt

            1 c. sour cream

            4 c. fresh cranberries (allow to thaw if using frozen)

Cream soft butter and granulated sugar.  Beat in eggs followed by vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.

Make streusel by cutting the ingredients together (or using fingers to blend the ingredients).

Spread half of batter in a greased and floured 10” springform pan by dropping dessert spoons of batter evenly across the bottom and joining them with a spoon or spatula to make a continuous surface.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture, then half of the cranberries.  Spread the remaining batter, using the spoon drop technique, then finish with remaining cranberries and then streusel.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This glorious little recipe came from my Omi.  I never liked zucchini as a kid (I’m still not a big fan), but these chocolate muffins don’t taste like zucchini at all and so when I discovered that I could say I ate something green after chowing down on a warm chocolate muffin, these became one of my breakfast favourites.  They are best warm in my opinion, do well in the freezer and can be reheated easily in the microwave.

1/4 c. salted butter

1 1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. vegetable/canola oil

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 1/2 c. flour

4 tbsp. cacao (cocoa if you please)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. grated zucchini

1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cream butter and sugar, add oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk.  Combine flour, cacao, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Add to wet ingredients.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.  Pour into lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Makes ~2 dozen.

Thai Beef Salad

This is a recipe that my talented mother came up with. It’s tasty, fresh, fun, and I love it.  She came over to help (read: make it for me) tonight to share with you all.

Thai Beef Salad

1 pound beef tenderloin tail, sliced in half lengthwise (tonight we used NY strip)

1/2 c. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

4 tsp. sugar

3 tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce

1/4 c. lime juice

2 tbsp. fish sauce

3/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. sliced green onions

1/4 c. chopped cilantro

2 tbsp. chopped peanuts

fresh baby greens, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers (red, yellow, and/or orange), shaved carrot, and sliced cucumber (really you can make the salad how ever you so choose but this is what mama suggests)

Place tenderloin in a shallow dish. Combine 1/4 c. soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 tbsp of the hot sauce.  Pour over steak and marinate for at least 1 hour turning several times.

In blender, combine remaining soy sauce, sugar, hot sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, green onion and cilantro and blend until cilantro is finely chopped.

Grill steak over hot coals, turning once until done as desired.  Let stand 5 minutes (hint: always do this to help the steak retain its juices). Slice steak thinly on diagonal and place on salad.  Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Serves 4

Soy Sauce Marinated Cucumber Salad

This dish was my favourite way of eating veggies as a picky little girl.  It’s simple, quick to prepare, and a tasty side to anything you toss on the BBQ.

2 tbsp soy sauce

1.5 tsp white sugar

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 english long cucumber halved, and seeded and thinly sliced (about 1 mm)

sesame seeds

Place the slices of cucumber in a dish or bowl.  Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar and pour over.  Use a fork to gently ensure that the cucumber slices are coated and refrigerate for 3 hours, occasionally re-coated slices in their marinade as the ones near the bottom will absorb the most. Serve cold as a side garnished with sesame seeds.

Preparation time: approx. 15 minutes (if you are a slow cutter like me)

Note: you can replace the white sugar with brown if you need to and although I haven’t tried it myself, I imagine this would work with Tamari or Bragg’s for a gluten free version.