We just wrapped up our Christmas parties yesterday, after a celebration with my family. As is tradition, we had a meal of all appetizers. Every family brings their favorite appetizers to share with everyone else and we spend the entire day just grazing. It’s an understatement to say that I’m full today. So before we get to our quest and our challenge, here are a few other blogger recipes we enjoyed once more.
We also made some Candied Cranberries that we saw over at A Spicy Perspective. Miss A and I really enjoyed these – most of the cranberries were sweet, but every now and then one would give a surprisingly tart burst of flavor. A very fun flavor experience, plus they were just pretty.
Mike and I also whipped up one other cranberry appetizer, but we’ll share that one later this week. Now on to our Quest for the Best Banana Bread. We’re closing in on the final taste test of all the banana bread recipes. In fact, I think we only have one recipe left to go, but before we get there we bring you Sweet Caroline’s Banana Bread.
Miss A was again my sous chef for the event. When I asked her if she wanted to make a banana bread, she went running for the kitchen and said, “We haven’t made one of those since I was like a baby!” I suppose in Miss A time, three weeks equates to three years. 😉
We left the nuts out of the recipe, because with the exception of Kelly’s banana bread, we’ve gone nut free. This recipe also included a few new ingredients including crème fraîche and nutmeg. It also used all white sugar. That said the biggest difference for us this time around was that we used a KitchenAid stand mixer (Santa was good to me this year!). Banana bread seemed like the best way to break the new toy in too.
As usual Miss A and I had a blast and we were all pleased with our initial taste test. The bread was moist and had a hint of cinnamon to the flavor. We of course saved a piece in the freezer for the big taste test next month and brought the rest to mom’s for Christmas dessert. Thanks for the great recipe Caroline! (To find out how this recipe fared in our final taste test, click here.)
Now on to the Chopped Challenge. We have a special day coming up this week…yes, it’s New Year’s Eve, but it’s also Mike’s birthday that very same day. We’ve done a special recipe for everyone’s birthdays on the blog this year, but Mike came up with a new and fun idea for his big day. He and I are going to have a little Chopped Challenge date night with the help of our blogging friends.
For those of you that may be wondering what exactly Chopped is – it’s a show on the FoodNetwork that pits challengers against one another in an appetizer, main course and dessert round. The contestants are given a basket containing four unique ingredients for each round from which they must come up with creative, tasty and stylish meals using all four ingredients. The ingredients often include rare and sometimes odd items like cough drops, cow tongue or gummy bears. For a clip click here.
So we enlisted the help of some of our longest and most frequent blog commenters to provide us with the basket ingredients. And now we’re asking the help of all our readers to vote on which baskets we’ll be
stuck with given. We’ll leave the voting open until Mike’s birthday, December 31st at 10 a.m. CST. Then we’ll have our date night within the next few nights. Thanks for participating – we’re looking forward to our interactive date night (with a good healthy amount of nerves involved too!). Thanks and have fun!
The baskets for our appetizer round have been provided by Chicago John From the Bartolini Kitchens, Linda from Savoring Every Bite, A_Boleyn, and Kelly from Inspired Edibles.
The main course baskets are provided by Sally at Bewitching Kitchen, Sawsan from Chef in Disguise, Charles from Five Euro Food and Greg from Rufus’ Food & Spirit Guide.
The dessert baskets come to us from Kay at Pure Complex, Eva at Kitcheninspirations, Jessica at Kitchen Belleicious and Caroline at Sweet Caroline’s Cooking.
Make sure to select one basket for each category. Happy voting everyone!